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"It's a long time trial at 38 kilometres and obviously it is difficult for me. I'll obviously give it my all to try and maintain a strong position on the GC.”

Photo: Sirotti

MIKEL NIEVE

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VUELTA A ESPAÑA

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07.09.2015 @ 20:55 Posted by Andy Pedersen

Mikel Nieve continued to impress at the Vuelta a Espana as he moved up to fifth place overall following the stage 16 summit finish.

 

The Basque star rode in a prominent position all the way up the tough final climb of Ermita de Alba and put time into a number of key rivals as the general classification evolved once more.

 

With a breakaway going on to contest the win, Nieve finished 13th on the stage and now sits two minutes and 32 seconds behind new race leader Joaquim Rodriguez.

 

The Katusha rider led the peloton home in ninth, and despite being chased down by Fabio Aru (Astana), he had done just enough to move into a one-second race lead ahead of the second rest day.

 

Seven categorized climbs littered the 185km stage on a day which many felt was tougher than the Andorran queen stage. Nieve was supported in the pack by his Team Sky team-mates, laying the groundwork that allowed him to jump up two places on the leaderboard.

Frank Schleck (Trek Factory Racing) proved strongest out of the breakaway to claim his first win since 2011, leading home Rodolfo Torres (Team Colombia) by 1:10. The pair made up part of a 10-rider move which had earlier been afforded over 20 minutes by the peloton.

 

After a hard day the peloton eventually shattered on the penultimate climb – the Alto de la Cobertoria. Team Sky held on to the lead in the team classification but saw their advantage slashed to 2:30 as Movistar stepped up their challenge.

 

After the stage Nieve, who will now head to Burgos by helicopter, was quick to thank his Team Sky team-mates as he moved up the GC ahead of the rest day.

 

On the significant time trial test to come he said: "It's a long time trial at 38 kilometres and obviously it is difficult for me. I'll obviously give it my all to try and maintain a strong position on the GC.

 

"Most of the hard mountain stages are behind us now. There are only really two climbing days left, so I don't see the GC changing too much after the time trial on Wednesday. That is what makes it so important."

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